Thursday, January 29, 2009
I've heard there was a secret chord
that David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, Do you?
It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth
The minor Fall, The major lift,
The baffled king composing, hallelujah
Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty in the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to a kitchen chair, she broke your throne
she cut your hair and from your lips she drew the halleujah
Maybe I've been here before
I know this room, I've walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
love is not a victory march
it's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah
There was a time you let me know
What's real and going on below
but now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
the holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah
Maybe there's a God above
And all I ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
It's not a cry you can hear at night
It's not somebody who's seen the light
it's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah
These are my messages this morning between my daughter and i:
Kid: I am watching lost and have no idea whats going on
Me: Don't ask me. All I can tell you is no one took their shirt off. :( But Desmond looked really hot. It's his episode and he cleans up real nice.
KId: I love desmond.
Me: Don't forget nip/tuck
Kid: i watched it yesterday
Kid: Yep its true I am
Kid: Wait. Is the chick w/ the gun the girl in the coma? Or is it the red head girl?
Me: I said "don't ask me". I don't have a clue whats going on. But a least now there is time travel. I have something to cling to.
Kid: Yes, I guess its nice to have the show based on some form of reality lol!
Kid: Aha! I knew Witmore was one of the guys we were meeting. Good to see he was always an Asshole!
Kid: Oh Charlie. Do you think all the babies named after the people are the people?
Kid: Oh! I just had another thought. Regis could be right about the dinosuars! Time travel and all. Show is short w/ no ads.
Me: I seriously dont have a clue what is going on. I love it it but i'm not kidding. Its way over my head. I thought it was an elaborate form of rehab. Like the movie "the game". I gave up understanding it. I watch in case Sawyer takes off his shirt.
Kid: yes. That is nice :)
Me: Sometimes I go read the web boards devoted to the show. Smart people seem to know the plot and have cool interpretations. I just hope it gets sort of explained by the end of the series. And I hope Sawyer takes his shirt off again.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
You Are Boggle
You are an incredibly creative and resourceful person.
You're able to dig deep and think outside the box to get things done.
You are a non linear thinker. You don't like following directions
You draw your inspiration from the strangest places sometimes. You're constantly inspired.
Thanks Tweetey...I'm not familiar with this game..."boggle"...
Monday, January 26, 2009
Tomcat and Bob. Tomcat, left, is a full time volunteer from Germany and he has never made soup before. Bob has been volunteering here at the Franciscan Outreach for almost four years. We had never met before because he usually works here weekends. Bob, right, works full time during the week at his regular job, and his boss knows he works in the kitchen here on weekends. Bob's boss is one of the main reasons I'm posting these pictures today. His boss wanted to do something to contribute so he bought all the ingredients we have used to make soup for 130 people! YEA BOB'S BOSS! I happened to have my camera with me on Saturday afternoon so I thought it would be fun for Bob's boss...who is all the way in Cleveland ("we love you Cleveland!") to see what his ingredients made for supper Saturday night. Bob, right, is holding a recipe he printed off the internet for Bean and Barley soup and he had to convert a recipe for a family to the size to serve 130 guests!
Three of us chopped up carrots and celery on Friday night to have ready for the soup making on Saturday. Actually, it was four of us, two high school volunteers, their mum and me. The girls were getting hand cramps by the time we finished. The carrots were about the size of our arms and the quantity was massive for this much soup. It took six bundles of celery stalks.
It takes two large saute pans to get the onions, garlic, celery and carrots cooking to go into the soup. A lot of olive oil too. Bob probably used about 15-20 tablespoons in each pot.
Tomcat doing his best impersonation of a soup chef. Too bad I'm laughing so hard, I am jiggling the camera.
Yummy. The soup is starting to come together. Isn't this soup kettle amazing?
The soup kettle comes up to our waists! You need a spoon almost as big as an oar to stir it.
Yep, thats a lot of garlic! And when I took this pic, we'd already put a fair bit into the saute of vegies.
Maybe in this picture of Bob and Tomcat washing and sorting spinach to chop...you can really see the scale of the soup kettle. It's the contraption next to the industrial size gas stove.
The soup came out delicious! After we had all the ingredients into the kettle...and even though it needed to simmer for at least another hour...we had to try it, and it was wonderful! Great work Bob, Bob's boss and Tomcat!
Friday, January 23, 2009
A lot of you know I've also had a dream to have an art workshop for people who live outside.
Usually when I get to work I cook food and then wash dishes. Last night, when I got to the kitchen, Father Manny was there. Father Manny is my boss (and you know who his boss is) and I hadn't seen him in ages and he gave me a huge hug. He is the coolest person and I wish I was half as cool as him. Anyways last night I was put on hot chocolate duty. It was different because it was front of the house with the clients and it was a lot of fun. I had brought a huge bag with me last night, and I was glad to see Father Manny because this bag of stuff was for a different area of the building. I had brought a bunch of art supplies. I tell Father Manny this and ask where should I put them or if I can go right up to the art room area? He's like keep them in kitchen storeroom for now. (thats another wild job I've done there, completely sort and clean the store rooms and walk in fridges. Whole foods donates a ton of food for the kitchen).
Later during service I ask Father Manny about the art room and where the person running it is..he tells me quite a crazy tale and that the person has been awol. I blurt out..."I'll do it". AND "I'll also get art stores and manufacturers to give us supplies. I've already called some of them!, I can start tomorrow!"
He was surprised, but then he bounced back and said "alright. We'll talk on the phone tomorrow". Then, he said, "the area for art is filled with winter clothing donations". I kind of droop and then he says "You can use the chapel!"
So then I go back to focus on the clients who are piling through the door and get some hot chocolates rolling. I am so excited I kind of get tears choking up. My mind begins to race with all the things I've wanted to get going for such a workshop.
If you've ever visited or worked in a place that serves people who live outside, you might have seen art rooms or facilities. I've seen a lot of these places but most people don't think of art making when they think of shelters or facilities for the homeless. The major trend has been art therapy. (which is not the same as practicing art) I used to work at a literacy program in Toronto for street kids. My duties were basically to archive the books. There was an art room but in these situations there are few supplies and often amateur grade materials, and rarely stretched canvas. I've always wanted to get professional grade supplies and have comprehensive workshops available in such a situation. I am all for small works on paper, and brief art activities but often this format is due to lack of supplies, rather than a decision on the part of the homeless artist. It' s one thing that I may work with recycled materials and found things...but part of art making is deciding what to use and what not to use. I believe in making stretched canvas as available as recycled paper because even choosing materials is part of the process. On some level, only having paper and pastels and few paints available is suggesting no one takes the work seriously enough to invest in options. One of my pet peeves is the adage "beggars can't be choosers". I say why the heck not? The adage is for poor people, not people of means. Too many people use that adage as an excuse not to dig deep into their own pockets or energy.
I am so excited I was spazzing with Stagg last night. My daughter was texting me asking what I was gonna do. On the way home on the bus my mind was racing with all kinds of ideas. Even to get disposable cameras so participants could build up their own image bank, to get individual sketch books donated for participants to journal, sketch and keep...for recording ideas for work. We could also do a video workshop in the spring, if anyone has interest in filming or scripts and ideas!
I've already got some ready stretched canvases, rolls of drawing paper, brushes, some acrylic paints, all kinds of collage material and I'm making image books and collecting art history books, contemporary art magazines...and really the possibilities are endless. These are just some meager beginning ideas.
When you have people who want to practice art and make things and have an area with all kinds of resources from found objects to professional grade materials there aren't any limits! And most people who need to make things from their imagination already have a ton of ideas...in this situation they just need supplies and space! Plus, if any one wants to learn classical techniques, I can teach them.
Now that I have the go-ahead...I am so stoked. I will still work supper hour in the kitchen , as this art workshop would be in the daytime. Usually, "art programs" are once a week for a couple of hours. The problem with "programs" are that they are based on low level assumptions and stereotypes. One of the reasons my approach is different is because with enough art supplies and materials we could have a set up two or more times a week. The idea that art is hobby rather than a critical language in images has created elitism and a big business in "art therapy". The evidence of this cultural collapse with image-making is most obvious in the lack of the money and time we give art in schools and in homeless shelters.
I hope even a small step leads to more learning and more making...
-If It Feels Good
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I've been meaning to send Mister Anchovy this article I cut out of November's Vanity Fair. I've been procrastinating and the cut out article is taking up real estate on the kitchen table...it occurred to me tonight it might be online...at Vanity Fair dot com.
What are we looking at? These are stills on my iMovie editing program. I am going through tapes and writing down what each one has on it, the image, brief dialogue, action, date, location. The clip you see here is me at 4 a.m. just arriving by bus to London Ontario after a ten hour ride. Yes, it's very windy outside. I have to phone my friend John Vanderheide and wake him up. I've gone across the street from the Greyhound station in London to get a cup of Tim Horton's. I think it's very funny that I try to climatize the video with this moment. Once you get going on editing or archiving, it is a surprisingly compelling activity even though it is tedious. I thought maybe a couple visitors would like to see what a strange activity it is to make a film, especially at this low budget and prosaic stage of the process.
This is what it looks like while I am going through these particular tapes. As I wrote here a couple weeks ago with "Where Am I" post I am going through each tape of interviews I've been conducting for the last two years on this particular documentary. (I have two other projects too...one on performers, and one on employment culture). Above is my friend John Vanderheide. He and I met through an online bookclub and we share a love of William Burroughs and Cormac McCarthy among other things. Here is a still of John and I talking in London Ontario in 2007. The little notebook on the desk has my records of peoples names and dates in the tapes. So I am partly cross referencing these original notes.I have business cards of people I've been trying to get budget and production help with too. I landed up phoning John this morning while going through his interview.. It's easy to start brainstorming or thinking of many things while trying to focus on the images etc. We had a great conversation catching up. Even though I realize this isn't the fanciest equipment or cameras...and I really work in a kind of grassroots manner...I have been loving doing this project, and I hope to someday show it finished to others. This is so low budget it scares me at times. There are many times I feel like I am in a futile process. Like who cares...what compels any of us to make a series of narratives with words or images? Especially without any kind of financial backing or reward or safety net? The interview in this tape is so interesting as John is an innovative and sensitive thinker...After watching this I just had to phone John and chew the fat. I've got a lot of challenges ahead in order to make this interesting for an audience and to follow through on more interviews. Wish me luck!
Above is a scan of my notes for editing. I'm sure there is some other faster high-tech method that others use..but I have to do it, at least at first, by hand. I know I know...I could set up a word program but I find it way more comfortable to sit play the footage and write these notes.I also write my scripts by hand with a pen. I use the yellow tab fullscap paper. You know yellow with green lines and red margin border? I'll type it out later myself but for some reason I have to write dialogue by hand. If you click on the above image you can read the notes.
John Vanderheide is not only a wonderful person, he is a great person to spend the day talking with....and he's a natural on camera. He was one of my first interviews for this long term project and I love the discussion we have. Meanwhile as I said earlier, we have a common love for William Burroughs and Cormac McCarthy. John sent me a copy of a paper he wrote that was recently published ina German Journal of criticism. It's a 12 page essay and Stagg and I intend to put it in our next zine. Stagg also loves William Burroughs. Here is the abstract:
The experimental novels of William S.Burroughs approach the idea of community froma functionalist perspective. For Burroughs, any form of organized communal life must be understood as an "artifact designed for a purpose". Throughout his career, Burroughs has opposed what he would call "control societies" that exploit the many to empower the few with alternative "partisan" formations that function to realize the evolutionary potential of the human species. But to fully appreciate Burrough's vision of both control societies and their revolutionary counterparts, reader need to familiarize themselves with the complex "mythology" that the novels are said to embody. This mythology both diagnoses the reason for humanity's "fall" into control, and the rememdy by which it can wrest iself free. As I shall argue, Burroughs constructs this remedy-the purpose of the revolutionary community-as a kind of "apocatastasis". This is a concept that has had divergent applications in both "pagan" and Christian metaphysics. Burroughs exploits various elements of both applications to produce a unique theological-political notion that contemporary enlightenment thinking would do well to incoprporate into its critical arsenal.
I believe this is one of the greatest novels ever written. Oh, yeah, it's dirty, it's experimental and it's a roaring adventure of pirate-cowboys, sex, within a controlling matrix, with a disease that forecasts the AIDS virus! Williams is most famous for his early heroin beat novels...but this trilogy is where Burroughs even transcends his own opus: Way before The Matrix and before cyberpunks in Nueromancer and four years before Cormac McCarthy would venture into his own version of Western novels. This novel is the proto-Blood Meridian. No one can match William S. Burroughs!
While young men wage war against an evil empire of zealous mutants, the population of this modern inferno is afflicted with the epidemic of a radioactive virus. An opium-infused apocalyptic vision from the legendary author of Naked Lunch—the first of the trilogy with The Places of the Dead Roads and his final novel The Western Plains.
Los Angeles Times Book Review - John Rechy
Cities of the Red Night is Burroughs's masterpiece. In it, the world ends with a bang—and they barely perceived winter, disguised by the wicked smile of one of the most dazzling magicians of our times.
-Cities of the Red Night at Amazon
-Barnes and Nobel precis of Burroughs Western Plains, the final novel in Burroughs masterpiece trilogy.
-Low Budget Sound Editing
-Are you making a video? Some tips to make it look more posh :)
-10 Minute Film School with Robert Rodriquez
I am never happier than when I am doing anything to do with film making. I love being on sets, I love directing actors and interviewing real people. I love sitting and replaying and breaking down and editing the footage. Seriously, I am never happier almost ever. Okay, well I love talking about William Burroughs too ha ha!
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Books Obama says influenced him:
“Parting the Waters,” Taylor Branch
“Self-Reliance,” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Team of Rivals,” Doris Kearns Goodwin
“The Golden Notebook,” Doris Lessing
Lincoln’s collected writings
“Moby-Dick,” Herman Melville
“Song of Solomon,” Toni Morrison
Works of Reinhold Niebuhr
“Gilead,” Marilynne Robinson
Mr. Obama’s first book, “Dreams From My Father” (which surely stands as the most evocative, lyrical and candid autobiography written by a future president), suggests that throughout his life he has turned to books as a way of acquiring insights and information from others — as a means of breaking out of the bubble of self-hood and, more recently, the bubble of power and fame. He recalls that he read James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes, Richard Wright and W. E. B. Du Bois when he was an adolescent in an effort to come to terms with his racial identity and that later, during an ascetic phase in college, he immersed himself in the works of thinkers like Nietzsche and St. Augustine in a spiritual-intellectual search to figure out what he truly believed.New York Times. And 25 books the President should read.
Shakespeare's tragedies. I like that in a leader. I wish my parents had read King Lear.
Check out this "going out of business" advert:
Monday, January 19, 2009
Many times peopele would tell me, organic food is a fake-out. Very few people would even believe that it tasted better. I usually defended my choice by focusing on the problems of industrial agriculture. But organic food offers many other benefits.
Many grocery products are processed that we don't associate with processing. Like salt. Commercial table salt has a lot less flavour than sea salt. One of the reasons is because table salt is processed with fillers. Some of these fillers include sugar.
Last month I was very busy getting ready for guests and I forgot to pick up sugar. We don't use very much sugar...basically Stagg puts it in his coffee. I could have a pound of sugar in the house for a year. Or more. Anyways I forgot to buy sugar and I had to make holiday cookies. So we bought some commercial sugar from the local grocery store. I hummed and hawed...even Stagg was like, what does it matter?
I sometimes make an iced coffee and I will put a little sugar in that. So I made an iced coffee. I couldn't taste the sugar. I thought I must have blown out my taste buds. I added more sugar. Nothing. I put some sugar straight in my mouth. What a rip. Nothing! I made the cookies.
Very bland. Seriously...something was wrong with this sugar. It had been years and years since I bought regular refined sugar. I will probably never buy commercial refined sugar ever again.
Oh and by the way...any vegetarians out there? The filter used for refined sugar is often bones of animals. It's called "natural charcoal". The filtration process of this sugar is popular because so many people prefer their sugar and much of their wheat and other processed foods to be "white and clean". Chances are if you don't buy organic sugar you aren't actually a vegetarian.
Yes, wheat is a processed food. Get over it. If you eat wheat, you eat Frankenfoods.
The other night we made it to the health food store and I picked up some "Vegan Organic Cane Sugar". It's delicious!
People are struggling with obesity because they have no idea how consuming processed foods including sugar and the holy grail favorite food staple—wheat flour—creates weight gain.
Wheat was originally a wild grass—which has been hybrid into six different classes in the United States. Soft red winter wheat and soft white wheat are grown east of the Mississippi River. West of the Mississippi, the wheat grown includes hard red winter, hard red spring, durum, hard white, and soft white. Soft white wheat is grown in the Pacific Northwest while spring and durum wheat are grown in the Northern Plains.
Evidence exists that this wild grass first grew in Mesopotamia and in the Tigris and Euphrates River valleys in the Middle East nearly 10,000 years ago. As early as 6,700 B.C., Swiss lake dwellers used this wild grass to make flat cakes. It was the Egyptians who discovered how to make yeast-leavened breads between 2,000 and 3,000 B.C. Since this wild grass is the only product with sufficient gluten content to make a raised or leavened loaf of bread, this wild grass quickly became favored over other grains grown at the time, such as: oats, millet, rice, and barley. The workers who built the pyramids in Egypt were paid in bread.
This hybrid grass (wheat) does not digest. It ferments in the stomach spewing off toxic waste that causes acid reflux, bloating and inflames tissues and joints—thus creating swelling in both. If people stopped eating ‘wheat’ and initially use a highly effective acidity detox remedy, within a few days you will lose inches from every part of your body. Furthermore, once you stop consuming processed foods and instead eat whole foods such as fruits and vegetables, under normal conditions, with moderate exercise, the body will release its excess weight on its own.
-The Worst Mistake In The History of the Human Race
-Do modern eating habits contribute to Depression?
Apparently Michele and Barack Obama's first dance at official inaugural ball is going to be Beyonce performing this song.
I once saw Etta James perform at an outdoor festival at Beacon Hill Park in Victoria B.C in 1989. If you think that is weird I also Deborah Harry (with my sister and friend Jen McInnis) in Victoria in 1989. I saw Muddy Waters perform in Victoria in 1980. Who knew a little town in Canada would have such a repertoire of touring recording artists.
In the following video I immediately got chills you can recognize his posture...and I started feeling chills up and down my spine. How profound to compare when this song was written in the week of 9/11 and to compare the context to today.
Basically, I just had a box of tissue next to me. (Stagg was teasing me) When these guys came out to sing their homage to Martin Luther King...I had this incredible feeling that so many things I believed in as a kid and young adult were coming to pass. When this song first came out this is the feeling we dreamed of...These guys just killed it with this performance.
But they weren't alone...the entire concert was awesome. Herbie Hancock, Will.i.am and Cheryl Crow were so cool singing Bob Marley's "One Love". I am not a fan of the style of singing of Josh Groban...but I have to admit the combination of his voice with Headley was incredible. Beyonce killed, Usher...it was a just an overwhelming event. The people in the audience were so happy looking. We have a bottle of champagne for tomorrows ceremony.
Check out the boss and Pete Seeger....(is that George Lucas?) Don Mischer directed this HBO concert and if you check out some of these videos you can see what great job was done. Mischer has directed superbowl halftime shows and several Emmy winning music specials. There were some impressive camera moves and set ups. You know, in Canada we just don't have this kind of spectacle or the kind of monuments. The U.S. really knows how to make monuments. Adding more significance to this ceremony is the history that some of these monuments were built by slaves. Candians don't really have any politician or philosopher that would be recognized by most of the population. The camera went into the Lincoln Memorial and then several "Ken Burns treatments" of stills with Lincoln were montaged into the big screens behind Tom Hanks speaking. In Canada...we'd have Mike Myers trying to explain who Tommy Douglas was and it just wouldn't have the gravity. I love the deeply rooted emotional bond Americans have with their history. So much of the United States story has a post-international resonance.
You know two years ago I went to Dealey Plaza. My hostess said she didn't understand why a Canadian would be interested in seeing the area and the 6th Floor Museum. When we got into the museum, it became clear to her...there was a display of all the places in the world that had named a monument or natural area after President Kennedy. There were newspaper articles of him from around the world. The thing is...it's kind of like if "daddy isn't happy, no body is" for us in the rest of the word. If the United States is up to no good we all suffer. And when the United States might be rising from the ashes...that is hopeful for us all. On a bookclub, a partcipant pointed out how America can pull itself back from the brink when things look the worst. Her examples:
---- Fugitive Slave Act to Emancipation Proclamation
---- Great Depression to New Deal
---- Bush years to the Audacity of Hope
Are you doing anything special to celebrate?
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Trailer for The Laughing Policeman 1974 starring Bruce Dern and Walter Matthau.
I was curious about this movie that was directed by the same man who directed Cool Hand Luke and The Pope of Greenwich Village. I love tracking these lost movies on cable, and being able to watch them over couple of days sometimes a couple of times.
Visitors know I love action films especially Asian action films and movies often considered as "bad" or "low brow" or B-movies. I love these movies because one can find textual analysis of our culture and great anthropological insight. And god dammit...I love adventure stories!
One of the reasons I love Tony Scott so much is because he manages to have fascinating accessible characters within glossy tightly directed images and plots. He really has been able to make B-movies on a grand scale. If you've never seen Revenge or True Romance you've really missed some great film moments.
The Laughing Policeman is one cool movie. I probably leanred more about the prevailing mindsets of the 1970's than any documentary or anecdote could have offered. There are some amazing sets and amazing atmosphere...by having transvestites at neighbouring coffee shop tables, hip decor, and some of the catchiest dialogue I've heard since a Tarantino flick. I'd have to imagine that this movie would be right up Tarantino's alley. The film is the very nature of "gritty" and it uses some wonderful filming techniques and I love how the director has overlapping dialogue. Overlapping dialogue was a trend most associated with Robert Altman, so I was really surprised to see it used to such great effect here. There is a scene in the San Francisco medical examiners where two or three doctors continue with their lab reports and autopsies right over the main dialoque of our police detectives. It's almost difficult to hear and is so blunt compared to the fetish and artsy methods of filming autopsy scenes in shows like Law and Order and CSI. I consider these programs excellent but the medical scenes are so operatic (no pun intended or is there?) when compared with director Stuart Rosenbergs style in this film. (In 1993, Rosenberg became a teacher at the American Film Institute. Among his students: Todd Field, Darren Aronofsky, Mark Waters, Scott Silver, Doug Ellin and Rob Schmidt.)
Sgt. Jake Martin SFPD: Evans was working the Teresa thing on his own time. He's killed on the same bus with Gus Niles who's looking for a grease gun that happens to be the weapon used.
Insp. Leo Larsen SFPD: And then his girlfriend winds up dead on the floor with the needle... Jake, you realize what you just did? You do it to me all the time, now you heard what the man said upstairs.
Sgt. Jake Martin SFPD: I heard him, I was up there, he's a nice man, he shoots in the low 80s, but he plays too close to the vest.
Insp. Leo Larsen SFPD: Then what are you laying all that crap on ME FOR? WHY DON'T YOU STOP IT FOR ONCE? That's YOUR personal hangup, it does NOT happen to be mine!
Sgt. Jake Martin SFPD: Can't you see it?
Insp. Leo Larsen SFPD: I see one thing, I see why you're such a good cop, and one reason only, because you're so screwed up otherwise. You're beyond human belief, you understand that? You've got nothing else, no personal life, nothing!
Sgt. Jake Martin SFPD: And what the hell are YOU worried about, your goddamned pension?
Insp. Leo Larsen SFPD: That's exactly it! Put in my twenty-five and collect my fifty-five!
Sgt. Jake Martin SFPD: All I'm asking you to do is help me tail a guy for a few days, it's routine!
Insp. Leo Larsen SFPD: IT IS NOT ROUTINE JAKE, GODDAMMIT, IF THE BOSS SAYS FORGET IT!
Insp. Leo Larsen SFPD: Who's the short guy?
Sgt. Jake Martin SFPD: His lawyer.
Insp. Leo Larsen SFPD: Oh, Jake, short lawyers - they worry me. Probably got enough juice to get a Sodomy beef reduced to Following Too Close.
During the movie, there is a strange scene where Walter Matthau has to tell the girlfriend of his partner that he is dead. I found the actress really compelling...and I wondered "whatever happened to her?". I recognized another young actress, the dynamic Joanna Cassidy, who of course was in Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Bladerunner. But who was this part icy, part sensitive thin blonde goddess? Shit. It couldn't be! It was Cathy Lee Crosby who I always just associated with a reality program from the 80's. And this is really the heart and soul of a good director...they can bring out the very best in a performer, even if it's just the smallest role.
We once rented the movie Black Rain during the winter holidays. Granma sat with us for about five minutes before she stood up and said "He's the most disgusting person I've ever seen." We couldn't stop laughing even though we felt guilty. I promised granma we'd rent a different kind of movie later. Black Rain has the amazing action actor Yusaku Matsuda's last performance. I always think of this movie as Ridley Scott trying to make a move riffing on his brother Tony Scott. How does one family manage to produce two such excellent mainstream film makers? Michael Douglas and Yusaku Matsuda have some good moments making this movie more than an experiment in innovation of bringing the Asian and American action traditions together before that blend becomes a trend. The characters including Garcia's newbie morals give this action some heart.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood once asked a male friend why men feel threatened by women. He replied: "They are afraid women will laugh at them." She then asked a group of women why they felt threatened by men. They answered: "We're afraid of being killed."
When I was a kid I hated Vancouver. I remember a feeling of heaviness and dread whenever my family would travel from a small island off the west coast to the big city. It wasn't because it was a big city, I liked cities way more than small towns, in general. Still do. But back then as a kid, I hated Vancouver because the overwhelming feeling of shithole scared me to death. There are a few shitholes in Canada. You've got Port Alberni on Vancouver Island, Barrie Ontario, Davis Inlet, Rose Valley Saskachewan and Quenell B.C. to start. But back then I gave Vancouver the prize.
Nowadays I love Vancouver. In some ways Vancouver benefitted from hosting the Expo 86 franchise. Areas that were dead zones got residences. But Vancouver also lost some of it's frontier charm too. Hope for jobs due tothe festival drew people looking for work where there wasn't any. What made elderly Canadians call Vancouver "seedy" (isn't that a funny archaic term?) was the hookers, drug addicts and all the trade and vibe that goes with a major port town. The hippies, drug cartels, gangs and the strippers didn't help either.
Today Vancouver has become one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I would live there. My sister does. You can find yourself in a rainforest in half an hour. Great restaurants, seafood, the most beautiful peelers, (ask Bon Jovi) hiking, snowboarding. And lots of dead women.
Three years ago, I made the mistake of turning down a corner near Koreatown and finding myself on Wastings. I avoid Wastings as much as possible on my visits. It's like walking in a Romero film and you fear being scratched. One word. Hepititis. The street is actually called Hastings...Hastings and Main. but most of us call it Pain and Wastings. Or "Low Track". You lose weight on the Jenny Crack Diet. You lose weight from Chrystal Meth and from living outdoors or in abandoned, but beautiful, real estate. The old fashioned term seedy just doesn't cut it here. Neither does ghetto, skid row, the weeds, red light. This is hell.
Vancouver suburbs changed laws (like Mel Lastman did in Toronto) and the burbs were able to kick out single apartment dwellers, and prostitites. Federal cutbacks pushed patients out of mental hospitals, dreams of work drew desperate people to Vancouver and needle exchange programs reached emergency levels by the mid-90's.
During these drastic economic changes between Expo and the federal cutbacks dozens of women went missing. By the time the official search for missing women began in the late 90's...forced by an Aboriginal group demanding an investigation... over 40 women were missing. When the murderer was caught over 50 women were missing. He killed, and fed them to his pigs on his farm, and buried some body parts, of 48 women. He had 15 years where authorities simply didn't give a damn. He found most of his victims at Pain and Wastings.
Vancouver is not a unique case of an area that tolerates violence to women.
The Green River killer a couple hours away from Vancouver pleaded guilty to 48 murders, but bragged about commiting 90.
A border city in Mexico began losing women. Most of these women worked for corporate international factories. These murders have been called a metaphor for Mexico and according to amnesty international 350 women have been murdered in ten years. Ten years. Officials in Mexico have resisted taking the crimes seriously and official investigations came only by pressure from grass roots womens groups, poets, and eventually Amnesty International. 300 hundred factories attract desperate workers to the area and yet these corporate globally owned companies combined with corrupt law enforcemnt have done very little to improve the security of the area. Mothers, grandmothers and neighbours have created their own searches for bodies of missing women in "the serial killers playground". I've been to some pretty sketchy areas of Mexico, but this story defies imagination. Ten years, hundreds of dead women.
Long before any official investigation in the disappearance of these dozens of women, in 1995 Tori Amos wrote the song Juarez. Thank god for poets who still respect women and coin a phrase "a metaphor for Mexico". Every shithole needs a metaphor...and that one sure beats "seedy".
dropped off the edge again down in jaurez
"don't even bat an eye
if the eagle cries" the rasta man says,
just cause the desert likes young girls flesh and
no angel came
i don't think you even know
what you think you just said
so go on spill your seed
shake your gun to the rasta man's head
and the desert- she must be blessed and
no angel came
there's a time to keep it up
a time to keep it in
the indian is told
the cowboy is his friend
you know that i can breathe
even when i cheat
should. should've been over for me
no angel came
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Above photo is the fixins for Butternut Squash soup. Super easy...once you ge the bloody rind off. Peeling a raw squash is a crazy chore. I used to always broil squash then make it into soup, but I've found out that more butternut flavour goes into the soup if you cut it raw, into little cubes, then saute the squash. About 20 minutes. Then saute onions and celery separately, then combine. Add chicken stock. Simmer for an hour. YUM! (you see that knife...no not the blue one, the stainless steel Global knife. I bought that a few years ago inspired by the novel Stanley Park set in Vancouver about a chef)
A few blogger friends are changing their eating habits to lose weight. I think a serving of soup every day is a satisfying meal for weight loss...as is a small portion of organic legumes. I love homemade hummus with celery sticks. Good source of protein, crunchiness (to replace potato chips while watching tv?) and vitamins and fiber.
It's insanely cold. There is ice and frost INSIDE our windows tonight. I went out today...had to...wanted to make some split pea soup and organic Boston baked beans for Stagg. The house smells great because te spiit pea soup is simmering. I used three cups of champagne, 2 cups water, tons of garlic, thyme, marjoram, onions and celery and 2 cups water to make the split pea soup...with some amazing organic ham cut into classic cubes. I've also got more acorn squash roasting beside the baked beans. I used three beans...kidney, black and butter with molasses, garlic, mustard, beer, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar...all really good ingredients and organic.
Stanley ParkFrom Publishers Weekly
What's local in a world that is becoming one global monoculture? That's the question confronting Jeremy Papier, the Vancouver chef at the center of Taylor's comic debut novel. Jeremy divides chefs into two types: the transnational Crips, who mix, say, Chilean farm-bred salmon and kimchi, without compunction; and Bloods, who are purists, stubbornly local in their food choices. Along with his friend Jules Capelli, another Blood, Jeremy runs the Monkey's Paw Bistro, making meals from mostly local ingredients for local foodies. Storm clouds lie on the horizon, however. Jeremy is deep in debt. To get by, he scams some $2,000 with the aid of Benny, a customer-turned-girlfriend. The scam backfires, and Jeremy has to turn to Dante Beale, an old family friend and the owner of a national chain of coffee houses, for money. Dante redesigns the bistro, turning it into a potential Crip palace. Jules is fired. Jeremy, under contract, remains. Turning for solace to his father, an anthropologist whose major project is living with the homeless in Stanley Park, Jeremy is reluctantly drawn into his father's work and the investigation of a decades-old mystery involving two children killed in the park. Along the way, he becomes fascinated by cooking for the homeless, and the joys of preparing squirrel, raccoon and starlings carry him into a glorious prank, which he plays at the opening of Beale's redesigned bistro. Taylor has written a sort of cook's version of the anti-WTO protests, striking a heartfelt and entertaining blow against conformity.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Since this time of year lots of people are holding back and feeling broke...here are some songs about money. Stagg came up with this idea for a Thursday Thirteen. This is just a bare sampling of songs about cash...there are sure a lot of songs about dead presidents. Make it rain!
1. Lil'Wayne- A Milli
2. Wu Tang Clan- C.R.E.A.M.
3. Radiohead- Dollars and Cents
4. M.I.A.- $20
5. Screaming Trees- Dollar Bill
6. Kayne West-Golddigger
7. Dire Straights- Money For Nothing
8. Fabulous Thunderbirds- How Do You Spell Love...M.O.N.E.Y
9. ZZ Top- Just Got Paid Today
10. Beatles-$ Can't Buy Me Love
11. P.Diddy- All About The Benjamins, Baby
12. Billy Idol- Mony, mony
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I didn't work on my wallpaper for most of the fall season. I guess between eloping, going to D.C. New York, Las Vegas, Toronto and Knoxville I couldn't really concentrate to paint. Plus, I over hauled the studio. So...now with our new camera here is the latest section of wallpaper...in progress. You can see where I "glue" with clear gesso sheets of paper. In many ways I am painting with paper and found images. Or with drawings. I have printed out notes here and quotes from articles or Joseph Cambell or magazines. Often the paper is recycled and you can see grocery bags added in the section on the left. I will fold up the top right hand side so I can add the left section to it likely tomorrow. It makes a great "break" from editing on the computer. I know, a weird concept...breaking one kind of work for anther kind of work, heh heh.
Divorced, unemployed and broke, Berry Gordy, Jr. borrowed $800 from his family to start a record label, Motown Records. 15 years later, it became the largest and most successful business owned by an African-American in the United States, despite the roadblocks of racism and pre-civil rights.
Now, 50 years later, Gordy and Universal Motown records will celebrate the iconic Deroit record label with a 50th anniversary party Monday at the Motown Historical Museum when it will be declared "Motown Day" by city and state officials.
Malcolm had a post the other day about Motown turning 50. I can't believe it. It feels like yesterday that a bunch of my family gathered around the tv to watch the 25th Anniversary of Motown. We were also taping it...and then the unbelievable happened.
Michael Jackson Moonwalked.
Sure, I know there are so many people who remember the first walk on the moon. They can remember where they were etc. My grandmother was wild about the walk on the moon. I get it, but for something else: Jacksons moves. Going to the moon seemed normal, a natural part of my life...but bringing the moon to earth? That was cool.
There were a few of us that night, my daughter, aunt, uncle and grandparents and we played the recorded show with his dance over and over and over that night. And we all took turns trying to do the Moonwalk.
Pop Culture Dish
Happy Birthday Motown
Photos in The Guardian.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
You're A Prayer for Owen Meany!
by John Irving
Despite humble and perhaps literally small beginnings, you inspire
faith in almost everyone you know. You are an agent of higher powers, and you manifest
this fact in mysterious and loud ways. A sense of destiny pervades your every waking
moment, and you prepare with great detail for destiny fulfilled. When you speak, IT
SOUNDS LIKE THIS!
Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
Monday, January 12, 2009
You all know I love to give the overall impression that I am a no-good know-nothing slacker just lying around eating bon bons and watching tv with some kind of languid lazy persona. Well thats not exactly the truth. I do do stuff even though I hardly ever talk about it.
I am going through my tapes.
I went to the office supply store and bought a binder and lots of loose leaf paper...just like school days. I am labeling the tapes I have built up from interviewing people for the last couple years, hen going through every tape and describing (as briefly but detailed as I can) exactly what is on the tape. This is hours of tape. Like 20 hours of tape. I also have to cross reference dates, correct spelling of names and locations, how many people, where the camera is...and these are also labeled with a number and alphabet letter. I have notes I wrote while on the road or after an interview and I am sorting these out as well and recording them in this note book. I have so much on film at this point there isn't any other way I can keep it in my head or track it.
I am also writing an editing journal as well with slight storyboards of the editing planned or already done. So...if I feel two sequences should edit together I am writing that down in a different note book.
It is slow going, but highly rewarding work and that is what I am up to.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
The appreciation of the arts has been replaced with the cynicism of the viewer.
On the internet...everyone is a fucking expert. Especially about the movies, right? I don't know how many times I've bit my tongue on web boards, or blogs, or in newsprint, where people filled with cynicism, trash movies. Especially actors. Yep...everyone is an expert. On the internet people use music and movies to highlight how intelligent and CULTURED they are. I once had a discussion at an online bookclub where pretty much every participant trashed Mickey Rourke. And this web board was supposedly seasoned cultural "experts"...I hung on...even defending him in Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man (what can I say...I love movies and I really love B movies!)
People believe an objects worth is dependent on whether they "like" it or "hate" it. If someone hates a movie automatically, in their view, it is a shitty movie.
I've heard people say they hate a movie because the actors suit was ugly (Collateral) or the actress had a squishy face (Renee Zellweger) or a director was a coke head so the movie sucked (about the fucking wonderful American Gangster)...and most of us have come to take these kinds of petty comments as serious film insight.
People use movies and art and music to show how fantastic their own sense of worth and opinions are...without any kind of heart or sense of excitement about the process, the emotions or most of all the root of storytelling...it's all about the critic. Viewers seem to be focused on using movies as a way to make them look "cultured". Film discussion has become fetishized on hating something rather than analysing or discussing the story and it's cultural place and value. Good taste has nothing to do with cultural currency.
Good taste has nothing to do with art making. Being culturally sophisticated has nothing to do with art either.
This idea that culture is something we have by hating on movies and actors...on performers in music, arts or performance is a really sad attitude towards the history of storytelling.
Mickey Rourke might be the best example of the cynicism of moviegoers. Rurke has taken more trashing than many... and granted...he is a larger -than-life persona (his own so-called vanity projects, bad behaviour)...which may draw ridcule....but....
This same contradictory seeming persona has always been what made Rourke seem to me to be the essence of what making art is about...what experimenting risk taking is all about. Too often Hollywood loses it's edge by veering away front he experimetnal and risky...Rourke has always seemed like the edgiest of edgy artists to me. To many, he is off putting, ranchy, risky, sexual, violent, and maybe even wrong...but he is always out there. Rourke has always taken risks. Despite the cost. And isn't that what art is often about?
Someone like Mickey Rourke will probably get their due in excitment from fans in a future generation.
Right now..."old think" and cynicism is what is reflected in audiences, critics and the internet. Actually. the movie Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man isn't just a B-movie...it became an instant cult movie. I believe this movie is a valuable exploration of the outsider including Vietnam vets...but that's another post...
Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man: Intro & Reward :) - Celebrity bloopers here
The appreciation of the arts has been replaced with the cynicism of the viewers.
I've had a picture of Mickey Rourke on my fridge or bulletin wall almost non stop since I first saw him in Heaven's Gate and Diner (yep...I'm one of those losers who actually thinks Michael Cimino is an incredible film maker...I thought the bad rap Heaven's Gate took was corporate bullshit.) Rourke was in a great movie called Rumblefish which also was a box office bomb! It's another lovely movie! Awesome cast! There's been a fair amount of talk in reviews about the movie The Wrestler as Mickey Rourke's comeback...
This completely cracks me up...comeback? Mickey Rourke has been in at least one movie, if not two, every year for the last twenty years. Maybe not starring but offering up some of the best cameos and character roles to be found. From The Pledge to Domino to Buffalo 66 to Man On Fire. Nevermind Sin City...when he came on screen the first time I saw Sin City I had tears in my eyes, I was so happy to see so much screen time of Rourke. One of his most fascinating roles was a very small part in the film noir Body Heat where he brought so much personality to the role of an arsonist...he has amazed me ever since.
There's been a lot of people for a long time talking shit about Mickey Rourke and I am so blissed out tonight he won a Golden Globe for his new role in The Wrestler. Way to go Mickey...you deserve it!!! And Springsteen's awesome music got an award too!
Mickey Rourke didn't need a fucking comback...
It's time for the viewer to drop their fetish with cynicism and make their own fucking comeback.